Tips On Parenting Teenagers

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

Parenting teens is an entirely different job than parenting small children. – Sandra

Parents must make the transition from being a parent who provides for all their child’s needs to one who coaches their teen to handle their frustrations and needs for themselves. The challenge is how to deal with the willfulness, clinging, or the demands typical of this period.

Parents need to be able to respond to their teen in ways that affirm the dignity and power of both parent and child. The parent who cannot tolerate their teen choosing to defy them, by wanting to do things independently of their parents, will make that child feel as though the price of their autonomy is the loss of love.

Successful navigation of this phase of life involves setting boundaries and enforcing consequences without becoming punitive, angry, or judgmental. Respectful parenting involves seeing the frustrations teens encounter when pushing against imposed boundaries as opportunities for them to exercise the muscles of self-control, self-respect, and respect for others.

The parenting role must shift during the teen years to supporting their growing independence and preparing them to meet the challenges & frustrations of daily life. Your responsibility as a parent is to teach your child the skills they will need to succeed in the world prior to leaving your home. Respectful, conscious and positive parenting is fair, flexible, and has learning, rather than submission as its goal. Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth.

Hearing and respecting feelings, allowing choice, yet setting fair and clear limits on unacceptable behavior is the healthy balance that we should all strive for. Some parents use authoritarian parenting strategies that do not allow the child an independent voice or sense of efficacy. Other parents overcompensate with overly permissive parenting that doesn’t teach kids about limits and self-control. Research shows both extremes can interfere with kids’ ability to regulate their emotions and form healthy relationships as adults. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of developing into a mature adult. 

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Emotionally Explosive Teens

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Does your teen tend to come unglued when things don’t go their way? – Sandra

According to Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, highly reactive teens have not yet made the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution their own.

Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively. Many popular explanations for explosive behavior place blame on the kid– or his parents. In Collaborative Problem Solving it is believed that if a teen had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting explosive behavior.

VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR WORKING WITH EXPLOSIVE TEENS:

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1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

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2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

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3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

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4. Collaborative Conflict Resolution a.k.a. Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Maximizing Your Teen’s Cooperation

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A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Your teen is in the process of learning how to tolerate and digest their uncomfortable feelings, so be sure to give them the space to do this. – Sandra

Sometimes parents need to act as their teen’s surrogate frontal lobe by helping them name their feelings, explore options, and figure out if solutions agreed upon take both party’s needs into consideration. For a teen to be able to participate successfully in conflict-resolution discussions with you, they must first:

  • Be able to identify and articulate their concerns.
  • Be able to consider a range of possible solutions.
  • Be able to reflect on the likely outcome of those solutions, as well as the degree to which they are mutually satisfactory.

How can you help your teen gain the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution? By involving them in the decision-making process in a collaborative way. Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively.

Here is a list of video tutorials explaining Collaborative Problem Solving, a new approach to working with challenging behavior in teens.

1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

4. Collaborative Problem solving aka Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Hiring a Teen Mentor

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 A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

It is rare today when you do not see a teen with their phone in their hand. – Sandra

Immersion in texting and social media seems to be contributing to a major loss of solid communication skills amongst teens; the ability to read body language and hold eye contact, focused listening and the knowledge of how to keep a conversation going.

I often hear teens expressing that texting is much easier for them than speaking in person. Ultimately, your teen’s social skills, and ability to carry on a conversation, have a major impact on the impression your teen makes on their teacher, potential employer and adults in positions of authority.

The teen most likely to stand out from the crowd is the one who can communicate effectively, manage their feelings, and behave in a respectful and mannerly fashion. These are the ones who will make the team, ace the interview, and be invited back as an honored guest by their friend’s parents. This is where I can help.

Although younger aged counselors may have their own Instagram accounts, and only be only a handful of years away from the teen experience themselves, they may also be overly immersed in popular culture. The value of working with an experienced therapist is that I have honed my social skills, developed tried and true emotional coping skills, and have a solid understanding of the character traits necessary to overcome life’s obstacles.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teaching Teens Life Skills

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

The following are some teen skills that teens will need to know to succeed in the world. – Sandra

CAN YOUR TEEN DEMONSTRATE THE FOLLOWING LIFE SKILLS?

  • Expressing feelings appropriately
  • Making a sincere apology
  • Resisting peer-pressure while maintaining dignity with peers
  • Maintaining proper and appropriate hygiene
  • Using proper table manners
  • Planning and preparing a meal
  • Managing time effectively
  • Being a smart consumer
  • Using conflict resolution techniques to avoid arguments
  • Maintaining proper boundaries with others
  • Minimizing the chances of becoming a victim of crime
  • Handling emergency situations
  • Knowing how to act and what to say during a job interview
  • Earning, saving and spending money responsibly
  • Being able to recognize a person of poor character

If not, you may want to consider setting aside a portion of time each week to discuss and teach these skills to your teen. The best way to approach the subject is by creating a heartfelt discussion. You want to make this a positive experience for your teen.

Implementing these concepts can take some time, and will vary substantially depending on the emotional maturity of your child. Please don’t feel like you have to tackle them all at once. Try setting aside 20 minutes at a time each week where there are no interruptions, and have fun with the process.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

The “Loneliness Cure” for Teens

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A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

“Times have changed from when kids would walk out their front door and go visit with the neighborhood kids.” – Sandra

It’s not enough to have a ton of “friends” on Facebook, followers on Instagram, or be known by numerous people (for one can feel isolated even in a crowd, or alone within their own family). At the same time, with only a few trusted, heartfelt connections, one can enjoy time in solitude, and not feel lonely. It’s really all about the quality of the connection.

Which is why the Teen Years are so important for cultivating the skills of authentic connection. It’s not about being the most popular, talented, smartest or prettiest. It’s about learning how to find your tribe, and build connections that suit you. This begins by slowing down long enough to know who you are (deep down inside), and cultivating the courage to share that with others.

So much of today’s social media is hype: Using filters to enhance your image, picking the best “selfie” out of the bunch to share, editing your words until they sound perfect, or only talking about the good things happening in your life. This can leave many young people feeling inadequate compared to these doctored personas, leading to insecurity, self-loathing and isolation.

We need to help today’s young people to understand that there was a world that existed before the hype, where people formed bonds based on shared interests and an investment in creating a safe space to share yourself, imperfections and all. Feeling lonely in inevitable at various times in our lives. But there is a cure … in learning how to build heartfelt connections.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Why Are Today’s Young-Adults Struggling?

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A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Over the span of 15 years, I have noticed a growing trend that I find concerning.

I’ve witnessed many bright college students, who successfully completed AP courses and got accepted to top name schools, failing out of their first year. These young people are becoming burnt-out, over-stimulated by the bombardment of information and constant connection available through technology. Add to this the concerted effort they just put in to create the perfect college application, SAT scores, essays and grades, and you have a recipe for them shutting down, or tipping over, as they enter –or leave college.

I’ve witnessed many bright college students, who successfully completed AP courses and got accepted to top name schools, struggling miserably during their first year. Unfortunately, due to over-scheduling, they were never able to truly examine what wasn’t working in their lives, and cultivate the social and emotional coping-skills necessary to thrive. Pushing to always “do” more, they lost their ability to self-reflect along the way.

So they turned to distractions from emotional discomfort, like drugs, video-games, binge-watching Netflix, and casual sex, in order to distract themselves from their stress. These ineffective coping skills are then carried into their college classwork, relationships, and jobs. Not having learned to tolerate the boredom of a repetitious task, they also haven’t cultivated the patience to wait for a desired outcome. They also don’t yet know how to communicate their wants and needs in a graceful manner, so they blow-up relationships with bosses, coworkers and friends, or worse, they suffer in silence.

Although not true for every young-adult, there are many who are suffering. If you are a parent reading this, you know what I’m referring to. Life is not the same as when you were growing up. Children are expected to prepare for college starting as early as middle-school. After-school sports no longer teach team-building skills for the average athlete, but are instead gateways for athletic scholarships. Summers are used to pad college applications with internships, jobs and advanced classes. Kids are being pushed to excel just to earn a chance at a college admission.

In my experience, it’s clear that today’s youth are missing out on opportunities that help cultivate their character strengths, social, and emotional intelligence. This is what I am advocating. This is what I’m offering.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens & The Spirit Of The Season

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A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

The holidays are an opportunity to invite the teenagers in your life to reflect on who they are, and what they value. – Sandra

With the gathering of friends and family to celebrate the closing of one year, and the start of a new one, the question that readily comes to mind to ask is “What are you grateful for?”

Inviting this type of discussion is about more than just instilling your values in the teen. It is about opening up your teen’s mind to the possibility that discussions like these enhance their experience of life; with gratitude being a habit that allows the sweetness of life to be savored, over and over again.

Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations allow teens to participate in family traditions, as well as observe the interactions of multi-generations. This is a wonderful time for teens to interview the oldest members of their family and learn about their early history, perhaps even hearing stories that would be lost forever if not passed down to this generation.

Sometimes, teens may feel awkward around relatives they see infrequently. It can be helpful to initiate fun activities like badminton, soccer, Apples to Apples, the Ungame, Life Stories, or Jenga. Another option is to set up a video camera and let teens direct an interview of the family members. This could be a fun new tradition–with the goal being the preservation of precious memories of their loved ones through the years.

With the changing of the calendar year comes the opportunity for teens to visualize the coming year in the way they wish to see it unfold. Would they like to be more focused at school, eat healthier, make new friends, try out for a new sport, learn to drive, earn more privileges, or even get a job?  Invite your teen to dream about “what could be”… and then help them create a roadmap to follow.

In closing, I invite you to consider how you might participate in the holidays this year in a way that role-models to your teen how to fully engage in the spirit of the season.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Teens With ADD

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A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

It can be challenging to keep your teen on course with all they need to learn in order to become an independent young adult. – Sandra

Unfortunately, angry and irritated responses on your part do nothing to motivate your teen, and only serve to damage your connection with each other. You are both better served by trying to understand why your teen is giving up so easily, such that you might help remedy the problem.
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It is important for your teen to discover how to harness their strengths, to help him/her move towards their dreams. Teens often do not understand the reasoning behind the general education classes, assignments and tests they are required to complete. For teens with learning challenges, it can be like trudging through molasses to turn in assignments. Your teen desperately needs you to understand why he/she is struggling, accept that they are doing the best they are able to do in this moment, and guide them in how they can do better.
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A goal in my working with teens with ADD is to assist your teen in moving beyond their frustrated or defiant stance about school. A tough love approach usually does not work because frustration, not love, is speaking. Teens do best when they feel supported and connected. also, please know that ADD is not a quick fix. Patterns of reaction may be in place between the two of you, as well as with your teen and their schoolwork, that will need to be turned around.
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Parents need to be able to enter into open discussions with their teen where they can discover what their child is feeling, as well as help their child explore their feelings of frustration and upset. Perhaps it’s time for you and your teen to have a chat with the academic counselor at their school about their homework challenges, that the counselor might help you explore options for making up any missed work. Your teen may need to go early to school, stay late, or miss lunch break to complete those assignments.
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It is also not your fault that your teen is struggling. You do not have to feel you must act angry in order to express the seriousness of your concern. Anger can feel like a retaliation for not pleasing you, and confuses the issue altogether. His/her not doing their homework is not a personal defiance of you. It is a cry for help.
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Your teen’s hope and enthusiasm, as well as his/her sense of capability need to be intact as they leave school to finally enter the world. Battles over homework will not accomplish that. There is a better way…..

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen A Perfectionist?

 A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

Highly intelligent and creative teens can find themselves struggling to fit in with their peers. – Sandra

The National Association of Gifted Children came out with a list linking characteristic strengths of gifted children with possible problems that might develop.

Because of the difference between their conceptual abilities and their actual development, highly intelligent teens are able to envision outcomes that they are, as yet, unable to perform. Therefore, they frequently end up feeling frustrated and discouraged when learning new things.

By projecting “perfectionism” onto everything they do, these unrealistic self-expectations can result in feelings of inadequacy. Able to anticipate the challenges in new experiences, they can become hesitant to try new things for fear of failing.

Gifted teens can also be hypersensitive to noise, light and the emotions of others, sometimes causing overreaction and difficulty in social settings. These teens often find it easier to be in the company of people older than them.

HELPFUL HINTS:

  • Common interest groups can be helpful for meeting other teens with similar experiences.
  • Parents can help their children to understand and digest their life experiences.
  • Professionals can help normalize your teen and family’s experience.

RESOURCES:

**Note: If your teen is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it. I invite you take that critical next step, and allow me to demonstrate the support I can offer to you and your family.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.